The owner has been a judge on the show 'Chopped.'
You would never know there’s so much to learn about pizza making until you talk to Bruno DiFabio, co-owner of the recently opened Bronx House Pizza, a New York-style pizzeria and Italian restaurant in the Shoppes at Granada, 1290 W. Granada Blvd.
The native New Yorker, known for pizza championships and appearances on national television, talks with the passion of an artist and the intricate knowledge of a scientist.
“I’ve dedicated the past 20 years of my life to the study of pizza making,” he said recently. “Proper technique is what it’s about.”
He calls the hand-stretched pizza “obsessively authentic.”
One important ingredient is water for the dough recipes, which he has delivered from the Adirondack Mountains in New York. He calls the water “healthy and delicious” and says it’s low in sodium and high in calcium.
The owner of several restaurants in the northeast, he’s personally involved. He came out of the kitchen for a recent interview with a couple of sauce stains on his white chef’s outfit.
His restaurants are “chef driven.”
“We’re not throwing cookie-cutter stuff out,” he said.
THE PALM COAST CONNECTION
DiFabio owns Bronx House along with Michael Bennici, who owns the oldest pizzeria in Palm Coast, Joe’s NY Pizza and Pasta; and Alex Stephens, the culinary director of Joe’s for the past 10 years.
Difabio met Bennici at a competition 18 years ago and calls him his best friend. They decided to open a restaurant together and thought Ormond Beach would be a good location.
“I’ve dedicated the past 20 years of my life to the study of pizza making." Bruno Fabio, co-owner, Bronx House Pizza
“I like Ormond Beach,” DiFabio said. “I don’t have a ticket back.”
Ormond Beach native Ashley Smith manages the restaurant after running Joe’s NY Pizza in Palm Coast for the past 12 years.
“We hope to bring that success down to Ormond Beach,” she said. “We’re a team. We care about each other and do what we can to make the business successful.”
Bronx House has a unique décor with old subway signs, brickwork and art murals for a New York atmosphere. There’s an open, exhibition kitchen and a large display of gourmet pizza, Stromboli, and calzones that are made throughout the day.
AS SEEN ON TV
DiFabio’s expertise was recognized by the Food Network when they invited him to be a judge on a “Chopped” episode they filmed three years ago in Chelsea Market in New York when the challenge was pizza making.
He has appeared on “Today,” “Good Day New York” and “Fox and Friends” for segments about pizza making, along with other TV shows.
DiFabio is a six-time, first-place winner in World Pizza Championships around the world, including Italy and France. He calls the competitions fun and enjoys learning from others who share his passion.
Keeping flour at the proper temperature is important for authenticity, DiFabio said. New York pizzerias are cooler, so even if the same recipes are used, the pizza won’t turn out the same.
He knows the best wheat comes from Canada, and he will expound on the value of using a mother yeast and whole milk mozzarella. The tomatoes are grown in Modesto, California.
“I like to study ingredients and find out where things are grown,” he said.
After touring canneries, he has seen the care they take with their products and he wants to do the same in his restaurants.
The goal at Bronx House is to have crispy, crunchy, golden-baked pizza that is also light and airy.
Call 386-888-MOZZ (6699) or follow on Instagram and Facebook @bronxhouseormond.